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Sin And Such


Yvonne
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This topic came up in conversation with my faith study partner:

 

How do you view sin, if at all?

 

I don't think I've fully formed an opinion. Growing up Catholic, of course I was thoroughly indoctrinated in various sins: the big one, original sin; the really bad ones, mortal sins; and the bad enough, venial sins. My thinking has changed, naturally, in pursuing progressive thought - out went all 3 of them! But, is there really such a thing as a "sin"? There's crime, yes; and there are moral and ethical imperatives that all (well, perhaps most) of us do not chose to violate.

 

From the Catholic Encylcopedia:

Sin is nothing else than a morally bad act (St. Thomas, "De malo", 7:3

 

What do you think?

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Yvonne,

 

To me, Sin is nothing more than ignorance. If you want to get biblical, i side with this biblical NT definition. "Whatsoever is not of faith is Sin." But of course that demands understanding what Faith means in that context.

 

In reality to me, Sin is a man made concept that is better approached by substituting the word "error" for sin. For to err is human but to sin brings guilt and condemnation where in reality there is none.

 

Just my own perspective,

Joseph

 

PS It seems to me Guilt and Sin are interelated. Here is just one of the past threads on Guilt that may interest you

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If i may be allowed to bore you a bit more, i would like to share a little on my understanding of Sin as relates to the Bible and my experience....

 

The garden story to me indicates Sin came into being as Eve (to me a metaphor) ate a fruit from a tree in the midst of a garden. That tree is depicted not as an apple tree as fables have it but rather as "the tree of knowledge of good and evil". What this tree represents was made clear by Paul in the book of Romans. He wrote " For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.

 

At one time before the law there was no sin. Oh Paul said Sin was in the world before the law but Sin is not imputed where there is no law. No law equals no violation. No violation, no Sin. Mankind chose to eat (live) by the knowledge of good and evil rather than spirit which is the tree of life (walking in his own essence or ground of being). .And when man set up those laws he in a sense set up his own judgement system. And when he violated that system it was accounted as a Sin in his conscience and brought upon himself guilt and condemnation. This was passed down from generation to generation in teachings and laws to all who choose to live by such. Jesus said it clearly "With what measure you mete, it shall be measured unto you" "For in the same way that you judge others, you shall be judged" . Living by laws whether set up by commandments we accept or by unwritten laws that we use in our hearts to judge or measure others, creates a perception knowledge of good and evil. And when we try to live by these laws, we inevitably fail. The only way to live free of sin is to not judge or measure others but to walk in the spirit of love and unconditional forgiveness. "Therefore there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ.

 

We were commanded by Jesus "to be perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect (without Sin) " Obviously he must have thought it possible or he wouldn't issue such a command. So how is one made perfect as far as the Father is concerned. By unconditional forgiveness and non judgement of others. When we refuse too forgive another we in a sense cannot forgive ourselves. When we judge another , we in essence have judged ourselves because we did the same or similar things at one time or another. So to live perfectly is to do neither judging or measuring but walk as the Father in Love, Mercy, and forgiveness. Against such there is no law and therefore no such thing as Sin.

 

Just my own understanding from experience and confirmed in a couple writings. Whether it is found in the Bible or not doesn't give it authority but i use it for a reference because it speaks well on this matter.

 

Joseph

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How do you view sin, if at all?

 

I think that the whole concept of sin and sinning is an attempt to absolve one of responsibility for correcting human error. By making human error an affront against G-d, the clergy elite set themselves up as arbiters of fate and dispensers of G-d's justice / wrath. It's a rather clever attempt at a power grab, and evidence of evolution.

 

If one has to believe in the concept of sin, I would agree with the view within the Jewish faith. The sins against G-d are few, and G-d cannot forgive offenses humans make against each other. Only we can forgive our trespasses against each other.

 

NORM

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Oh wow, that certainly did not take the direction I thought it was going to take! I do not disagree with anything.

 

I think the term "sin" has gotten a bad rap, so perhaps I should have used a different word. I was not thinking along the lines of biblical sin, or guilt, or "sins of omission" as we used to call them. I'm thinking of circumstances, big and small, when one intentionally harms another, abuses power, is wilfully hurtful or hateful. I think "sin", in these forms, has the power - oops, wrong word - ability to harm ourselves because we are all interconnected. That is, btw, the way I choose to view Christ as "savior" - showing us the gospel (good news) of our interconnectedness with God and all that exists. So, while I believe sin cannot separate me from God, nor will God be hurt or mad at me because I've sinned, surely there is some kind of consequence - other than one of societal justice??

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Thoughts from two perspectives on this...

 

It is my understanding that the word in original languages translated as 'sin' actually more accurately means "to miss the mark", to fall short, to fail, to be in error. That to me dramatically changes how sin can be viewed. And how could God be angry at someone for failure? Mistakes? To me that brings up an image of a child trying to work a math assignment, with an angry parent or teacher standing over him yelling at him, shaming him, threatening punishment, if he doesn't stop making mistakes, and get it done right!

 

The other thought..in Genesis, God had just looked over His completed creation and said it is good....next thing we know, Adam and Eve have eatern the fruit, and are hiding in shame over their being naked, having decided naked is evil, not good. So, was their "fall" actually that of judging God and His creation, that He had just declared good?

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So, while I believe sin cannot separate me from God, nor will God be hurt or mad at me because I've sinned, surely there is some kind of consequence - other than one of societal justice??

 

Certainly. It is the connection you spoke of that brings about consequences for all actions regardless of social justice. God is not mocked , whatever one sows, one reaps, now or later in time. In my view, the act and consequence are one and the same yet they appear in the concept of time as if separate. The universe to me seems to be in perfect balance and in a harmonious dance but it is not apparent at times by human perceptions.

 

Joseph

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I think the term "sin" has gotten a bad rap, so perhaps I should have used a different word. I was not thinking along the lines of biblical sin, or guilt, or "sins of omission" as we used to call them.

 

Yvonne,

 

I think you are right that the word 'sin' does imply a religious transgression. However, general moral transgressions often overlap with 'sin.' Perhaps a difference is that general moral transgressions, I think, involve harm to others where 'sin' can involve some religious failing not involving other people (like failure to praise, failure to acknowledge the right god, etc.).

 

George

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Yvonne, can you explain what you mean by this discussion not going where you thought it would? I don't know what you mean. I'm open to taking it in another direction if I know what that is. There is of course many directions disucssion of sin could take, I don't know which one you had hoped to explore.

 

Jenell

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This topic came up in conversation with my faith study partner:

 

How do you view sin, if at all?

 

I don't think I've fully formed an opinion. Growing up Catholic, of course I was thoroughly indoctrinated in various sins: the big one, original sin; the really bad ones, mortal sins; and the bad enough, venial sins. My thinking has changed, naturally, in pursuing progressive thought - out went all 3 of them! But, is there really such a thing as a "sin"? There's crime, yes; and there are moral and ethical imperatives that all (well, perhaps most) of us do not chose to violate.

 

From the Catholic Encylcopedia:

 

 

What do you think?

 

 

"Sin" is an archers term for "missing the mark". We are not punished for our sins, but by them. It comes down to the law of cause and effect. We collectively experience the consequences of one another's sins. Even so, missing the mark is not always a bad thing, as it is when we fall short that we have the greatest potential to further grow and develop. Life is a great teacher when we are observant enough to learn from our experiences.

 

 

I personally view sin to be a necessary element to mankind's existence, however. We stumble and fall, but this ultimately affords us an opportunity to better ourselves as a people. Without us missing the mark, we would live stagnate lives. In the end, sin in is the means through which we remain in continual growth, which will forever help us learn how to live effectively. No matter how old we may be, we are still very much like children. I shudder at the thought of placidity; I shudder at the thought of reaching absolute perfection whereby nothing more can be learned.

 

 

Life is meant to be lived, and part of living involves us missing the mark. Missing the mark (Our sins) lend to us opportune moments to learn from our experiences, leading us to live better lives. "To me it's all just common sense, a broken rule a consequence." (Montgomery Gentry). I simply believe we need to live without fear of falling short. In short, we ought to take our shortcomings and use them to our advantage, as this is their intended purpose (IMO) .......

Edited by Jagged Zen Monkey
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Very well put, James. That we suffer from/by our sins, rather than FOR them, as in some kind of arbitrary punishment, I think is an especially important understanding.

 

I've mention William Sweiker's book "theological ethics' elsewhere, he presents some ideas along this line I find interesting. He sets forth under terms "description", "inscription" and "prescription" his theory of how rellgious thought makes the jump from sin as to miss the mark, and punishment as the consequences of the sin itself, to the often harsh dogmatic "Law" and legalistic responses to sin.

 

He posits that what begins as a warning of dangers, that certain actions lead to painful consequences, is in form of "description." for example, a young unmarried woman that becomes pregnant and bears a child without the presence of a huband conmitted to her and her child's care is going to suffer terrible hardship.

 

Next comes "inscription" into Law, "inscribed" as in "written in stone"...this is the Law, this is how it is. Remember, "written" orginally literally mean inscribed into stone or clay tablets..

 

Once it has been "inscribed" into Law that "an unwed mother and her child shall suffer terrible hardship", it becomes in the minds of people as a "prescription"...that it is "prescribed", commanded or ordered, that an unwed mother and her child be subjected to terrible hardship by other members of society, as a punishment for her sin.

 

Thus has the "spirit of the Law" out of which the orginal description was articulated,, ie, having a child out of wedlock is something to try to avoid for its natural consequences of suffering, been lost, replaced with a punitive legalism. Jesus tried to point this out, that the consequences, her suffering, is a natural result of the sin, the failure, and others are to respond with compassion and releief, NOT their own judgement and punishment, intentional inflictingof even more suffering.

 

Jenell

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Where would you like it to go? I think everyone has answered your OP properly, unless we somehow misinterpreted your query.

 

NORM

 

I did not say I didn't like the direction, just that it wasn't what I expected. I really don't know how to express my question differently. My friend and I could not agree on a definition of "sin", let alone if there would be consequences - other than social judgement. We did agree, however, that we would recognize it if we saw it (haha). My comment on "not enough interest" was perhaps ill-worded. Maybe the answer really is very succinct. :unsure:

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Well, I think there are consequences inherent in sin whether there's any social judgement involved or not, if that's what you mean. If social judgement was all there was to consequences, then as long as one was able to avoid being detected by others, judgement could be avoided. I'd have to say, whatever is sin is is more than just a social standard. It has its inherent consequences.

 

Like in the example i used above, the unwed mother, the initial 'warning' against that, because she and her child will suffer having none to care for them. Whether anyone 'judges' her and the child or not, they still have a very hard go of it. That was even more so in societies where women were less likely than today to have resources of her own.

 

I think there are also consequences apart from just material world factors...again, the example, the unwed mother and child are not only going to suffer material lack, poverty, even danger of physical harm, but also negative psychological and emotional consequences.

 

Even with a sinful act that can be entirely concealed from others, or at least who beleive that are concealed, I think has real consequences on the person's own mind and heart and spirit. I've known a couple people that were very clever at theft and other unethical behaviors,so much so that not only did virtually no one around them ever 'call them to account' for it, but others really didn't seem to know. To use a different kind of sin often perpetrated without social consequence, is child sex abusers, that through coercian and intimidation keep their victims silent, or assure no one believes them. They are "getting away with it", excaping social consequences, but I can't think they do not still experience personal consequences, guilt, shame, low self-esteem. Also, as someone else pointed out,the consequences of sin do not always play out against the perpetrator, in the examples given above, those 'framed' and falsly accused of thefts, as well that the actual victims of theft, and certainly the victims of the child abuser will suffer consequences.

 

On a deeper, more spiritual level, it seems to me, at least my own experience bears out, that my state of myself with myself, ie how I feel about/toward myself, and what I do, how I've acted, very definitely affects my sense of relationship with that "other" I know as the Spirit, or Jesus, or God....if I'm just "not right", am filled with bad thoughts and feelings, anger, resentment, guilt, it definitely complicates any effort to experience that sens of "connection." Depending on how badly, I can feel quite forsaken and alone...I don't percive that as that God has abandoned me, is punishing me, but its ME thats the problem, who has gotten out of alignment. And being out of alignment with one's own consience and the Spirit isn't a good feeling. so, yes, were that to happen a lot, I'd suffer for it.

 

Jenell

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Yvonne, it might help if you were to give us a basic overview of each your definition of sin, and consequences of sin, and how you and your friend were differeing on various points. That might give someone a common point of reference from which to begin in what about your conversation was troubling to you, or the friend.

 

Jenell

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One other way I've found for thinking about sin is what I call a SIN, Sin, and sin (or sins, acts of sin) concept. When thinking of them, or writing of them, the way each is writtien represented something of different stages or levels. I see this as Jesus spoke of people's evil deeds (sins) arising out of evil thoughts (Sin) which in turn arose out of evil heart (SIN).

Maybe others will find the helpful.

 

1. SIN. SIN is the point of departure from righteousness, spiritual wholeness, in perfect right position before God. In physical health metaphor, this is where we've departed the fullest most perfect and balanced state of maintaining good health. we not been as careful as we should to keep our thoughts pure, not care as much for others. We've slipped on our being loving, kind, fair minded and hearted toward othersd. a metaphor to physical health, We've let some unhealthy habits creep in, we're not eating balanced meals of good food sufficient to optimal health, we aren't excercising as we should be, not really doing anything 'wrong', just not doing everything right, either.

 

2. Sin. Sin is the faulty thing, behavior, thoughts, feelings, we let creep in because in #1, we gave room to them, gave them a place to creep in and take up residence. We start resenting others, or feeling selfish, or angry and mean. On the physcical health metaphore, our departure from complete wellness in #1 has let us start developing some high blood pressure, artery plaque, an inflammed panceas...

 

3. sin, or acts of sin...arising out of our sinful thoughts and feelings of 2, we actually do some thin to cause harm to someone. We steal from them, or our impure thoughts lead us to sleep with their spouse. In the physycial metaphor, our bad health habits have brought us to full blown diabetes, heart disease, potentially a heart attack.

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Hi Yvonne and All,

 

It looks like there’s considerable interest and many opinions on the subject that you’ve raised. My own opinion, as my friends might naturally surmise, is formed from teachings found in my favorite tome. Several recollections came to my mind fairly quickly, but I felt I could use a refresher before replying.

 

So, after catching up on “Sin and Such” thread, I thought to browse the online topical index for something that might be worth consideration on the list.

 

Rather than discourse on my thoughts at this stage of the discussion which might also parse the differences between error (evil), sin, and iniquity, I will simply list some keywords and post this (link) for the convenience of anyone who might be inclined, but not obliged, to weigh the contextual value of any of these, and other ideas:

 

sin (defined as):

attitude of person toward reality - conscious wholehearted identification with evil - conscious choosing to oppose spiritual progress - deliberate transgression of divine will - failure to perceive obligations of cosmic citizenship - honest doubts are not sin - immature choosing willfully endorsed - inevitable if creature is to be free - not part of God’s consciousness - originating in misuse, distortion, and perversion - prostituting divine talents for selfish gain - purposeful resistance to divine reality - requiring insincerity - saying what is good but not doing it - suggests abject spiritual poverty - urge of self and spurious personal liberty - disregard of fraternal obligations - blindness to cosmic relationships

 

(effects of):

always deleterious - creates dead level of evil inertia - does not alienate God’s affection - ends in pain - fatal only when it is attitude of whole being - greatest punishment for sin is loss of existence - habitual sin becomes iniquity - inherently suicidal - law of God destroys sin - Light which saves if accepted, condemns if knowingly rejected - man can reject survival by sin - may evolve if self becomes proud and arrogant - repercussions are inevitable and collective - retards intellectual development, moral growth, social progress, and mass spiritual attainment - separates sinner from communion with God’s spirit - sooner or later punished - torments indwelling gift of God - wages of sin is death - way of transgressor is hard

 

I hope you’ll all have a progressive weekend,

G’day friends,

Brent

Edited by Brent
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Yvonne, this is just kind of a reach at a possilbity, after re-reading your comments about what you are talking about...could you be referring to what is most often represented in the bible as "wicked", "wickedness"? Which comes closer to the meaning of deliberately injurious, harmful, to others?

 

Jenell

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